Firm Profile > Thrings LLP > Southampton, England

Thrings LLP
Stuart Court
Salisbury Road,Romsey
SO51 6DJ

Family: Hampshire Tier 2

Thrings LLP's family team has significant experience advising agricultural and landowner clients on divorce, specifically on complexities arising from different family interests in farm assets, tax and property valuations and, planning and development issues. Sally Pike, who leads the practice, is particularly experienced in family finance, as well as pre-nuptial agreements and is an accredited mediator and collaborative family lawyer. Fiona Kellow has significant expertise in high net-worth matrimonial finance.

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Sally Pike has put Thrings “on the map” for their regional family law offering.’

Thrings are a lovely firm providing an excellent service from its various offices. It has long been regarded as a leader in Wiltshire and Hampshire in the realm of financial remedy work.

Sally Pike is an excellent solicitor and a joy to work with. She forges fantastic relationships with her clients and works extremely hard for them. She is very experienced and provides the best possible advice, full of sound practicality and realism.

Sally Pike is truly passionate about her work.  She has immense experience both on Circuit and in London.  She regularly deals with the most complex cases and she leaves no stone unturned in her desire to achieve a result for her clients.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire Tier 2

Thrings LLP has a breadth of expertise in tax planning, including offshore planning advice, inheritance tax, stamp duty land tax, and capital gains tax. The firm's specialism in the agricultural sector translates down to its private wealth team, which focuses on providing business and tax advice to large landed estates in the south of England. Michael Westbrook leads the practice and specialises in advising farmers, landowners, family business owners and entrepreneurs on strategic succession planning and asset protection, with a particular focus on the use of trusts, partnerships and companies.

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Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Thrings LLP's agriculture and food department excels in its advice to national farming associations and well-known landed estates, and has a broad and highly regarded contentious offering. Practice head Duncan Sigournay specialises in agricultural property matters, with a particular focus on agricultural tenancies. Russell Reeves leads the firm's agricultural litigation team, and is regularly involved in high-profile cases that reach the High Court. Robert James, who was made up to partner in May 2019, has a strong track record in trusts and partnership disputes.

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Thrings’ agricultural practice act very much as a team, and even though they are a large practice they act like a small practice giving a personal touch. They have an excellent team spirit which shines throughout. It is this excellent atmosphere and dynamic which draws you to wanting to work with them.

A very strong rural team which has a high profile among landowners and farmers – every aspect is fully covered and in depth. They have knowledge and experience, and interact well amongst themselves to deliver high-quality results.

Russell Reeves is a pleasure to work with – a calm and authoritative team leader.

Thrings has for many years featured as a leading agriculture and estates practitioner. The agriculture team is led by Russell Reeves, an experienced and technically expert agricultural lawyer. He has over recent years been involved in leading cases such as Moore v Moore on proprietary estoppel and partnership disputes. He is adept at handling clients and maintaining excellent communications with his client and the team. He is a skilled negotiator which is of great value in mediations. The firm has a first-class client base derived in part from its role as solicitors to the National Farmers Union.

A strong and broad team ensuring a good service offering where there is always someone available. All solicitors at all levels are approachable and knowledgeable in their particular fields.

Neil Barbour is quite exceptional – he always seems to have time and is calm under pressure. He stands out among his peers because of his diligence and attention to detail; he is a good friend to all who work with him and someone you want on your side to cut through difficult situations. He’s uncompromising on sloppiness! Robert James is a rising star and has an excellent manner about him: no stone is left unturned in his quest for the answers. He is quiet, thorough and knows just what questions to ask.

Robert James has a  dynamic, positive and can-do attitude backed up with exceptional communication skills and a very high degree of professionalism. His wisdom and commerciality go beyond his years; put simply, you want him on your side of the table.

Very good firm for agricultural litigation.

Key clients

National Farmers Union (NFU)

Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

The Badminton Estate

Denhay Farms Ltd

Roger Moore

EU Plants Ltd

Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust

DJ Houghton Catching Services Ltd


Commercial litigation: Bristol Tier 2

Thrings LLP's team of 'sensible, pragmatic litigators' excels in director, shareholder and corporate governance disputes, as well as financial services, pensions, agriculture, environment and insolvency litigation. With offices in Bristol, Bath and Romsey, the group has a strong South West presence and an impressive roster of local, national and international clients. In Bristol, practice co-heads Alastair Govier and Mark Cullingford specialise in pensions and insolvency claims respectively, while Russell Reeves is noted for his agriculture and food litigation focus.

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Sensible, pragmatic litigators.

Thrings stands out for legal know-how in pensions and incredibly hard work.  Immensely responsive and very thoughtful about tactical and legal issues.

Very client focused organisation with excellent response times and consistently clear and sound legal advice, delivered in a cost effective and efficient manner.

Alastair Govier is charismatic and dynamic.

I was massively impressed by Alastair Govier. He was completely on top of what was a very complex and paper-heavy case. Excellent legal knowledge, but didn’t allow the law to obscure the tactical issues.

Key clients

National Deposit Friendly Society

Stonebridge Colleges (Publishing) Limited



AirTanker Services Ltd

CFH Docmail Limited

Pacific IFA Limited

SLR Consulting Ltd

Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

Thrings LLP is adept at handling a range of contentious corporate and commercial matters as well as financial services litigation, debt recovery claims and product liability disputes. In the corporate space, the group has been particularly active in directors, shareholder and restrictive covenant disputes and counts defence and aerospace, manufacturing and IT among its sector focuses. Following David Patterson's retirement, Ramona Derbyshire leads the team, which also includes Caroline Watson; Derbyshire and Watson both handle a range of contentious matters and have particular experience in product liability disputes and financial services disputes, respectively.

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Key clients

Quilter Financial Planning

Multivac UK Limited

Citipost Limited

Openwork Limited

Honda Finance Europe PLC

MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited

UTAX UK Limited

Corporate and commercial: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

John Davies leads the Swindon-based team at Thrings LLP, which is able to handle mid-market M&A, mainly in the manufacturing, logistics, health, education and technology sectors. Strengthening the group in 2019, associate Will Foulkes joined from Foot Anstey, bringing with him substantial blockchain expertise. Simon Hore is noted for corporate finance.

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Key clients



GS Yuasa Battery Europe

Wasdell Packaging & Wasdell Holdings

Arkells Brewery




Abbey Business Interiors


Debt recovery Tier 2

Thrings LLP advises on all aspects of debt and asset recovery, acting on both domestic and cross-border disputes. The firm has experience in pre-action protocol compliance, issuing claims, enforcement and disputed debts. Practice head Ramona Derbyshire has particular specialisms in complex commercial disputes, financial services litigation and professional negligence claims. Also notable in the area is recoveries manager Amanda Richardson.

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Key clients

Honda Finance Europe Plc

Citipost Group

Mannings Facilities Management Ltd

Wilson Tool International (Europe) Limited

UTAX (UK) Limited

Marks & Clerk LLP

Tavistock Financial Limited

SLR Consulting Ltd

Smiths Roofing Contractors Limited

The Bar Council

Openwork Limited

Stanley Security Solutions Limited

Employment: Bristol Tier 2

Thrings LLP offers its clients a wide range of employment law services, which includes providing representation at employment tribunals, strategic and advisory work, and advice on the employment-related aspects of GDPR. It acts for clients in sectors such as FMCG, TMT, charities, manufacturing and engineering supply chains. The department also works closely with the firm's highly regarded agriculture practice. Team head Kerrie Hunt recently led on a number of employment tribunal cases, many of which involved complex discrimination claims.

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A deep understanding of all aspects of employment law extending to specialist areas such as agriculture.

Exceptional, high-quality guidance from dedicated employment law specialists who understand the business.

Kerrie Hunt is a very knowledgeable and professional lawyer. She always wants to understand our point of view and provides concise and clear explanations of options and decisions.

Key clients

AirTanker Services Ltd

Kohler Mira Ltd

The Outside Clinic

Denhay Farms Ltd

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

Penny Brohn UK

Centurycomm Ltd

Banking and finance Tier 3

Primarily acting for lenders, Thrings LLP has particular experience in acquisition finance and secured lending. The firm also provides expertise in equity investment and due diligence advice. Practice head Mike Tomlin specialises in transactions involving layered debt, linked debt and equity, and cross-group security arrangements.

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Key clients

Santander UK plc

Metro Bank

National Westminster Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Royal Bank of Scotland

Arbuthnot Latham


AIB Group (UK) plc.

TrueSpeed Communications Limited

Commercial property: Bristol Tier 3

Thrings LLP advises on residential developments, corporate occupier matters and secured lending, particularly acting for high-street lenders and modern lenders. The firm also has experience handling inward-bound development work from Singapore and Hong Kong. The team is co-led by Warren Reid, Ben Jones, Gemma Featonby and Robert Barnes. In 2019 Steve Schofield left the firm for Osborne Clarke and Ben Tarrant departed for Ashfords LLP.

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Commercial property: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 3

Thrings LLP provides specialist secured lending and residential development teams. The firm also has expertise in investment, advising on the acquisition and disposal of high-value freehold and leasehold properties. The team is co-led by Warren Reid, who focuses on commercial property and property litigation; Ben Jones, who advises on acquisitions, disposals, development schemes, and landlord and tenant transactions; and property litigation expert Gemma Featonby.

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Newland Homes

Curo Enterprises Limited


Property Partner

Baylis Estates Limited

Blue Cedar Homes

ForgeRock Limited

Create Real Estate

Burrington Estates

National Westminster Bank

Construction Tier 3

The ‘very friendly, approachable and supportiveThrings LLP has expertise in residential development, secured lending and a range of contentious matters. The firm’s work covers sectors including water, retail, leisure and healthcare, as well as corporate occupier issues. The team provides ‘excellent, quick advice’ and is co-led by Steve McCombe, who acts for public and private clients, and construction and engineering specialist Natalia Sokolov.

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‘An efficient and innovative approach to finding solutions and resolution of disputes’

‘We have found the practice to be widely experienced in construction matters and able to set the opinion in the context of current thinking and good practice as well as providing an assessment of risk with balanced judgement’

‘The overall service proved good value for money’

‘Thrings provide a sound, solid service and advice’

‘Natalia Sokolov is very commercially minded’

‘All the team members that I have dealt with are very approachable and respond promptly to queries raised’

‘Steve McCombe always delivers excellent advice, tailored to our business needs. He is an accomplished communicator and a pleasure to work with. Steve inspires confidence, born from his experience in advising in the utilities sector, together with his calm delivery and the quality of his advice.’

Key clients

Anthony Best Dynamics Limited

Bourne Group Ltd

Bristol Water PLC

Newlaw Legal Limited

Stonewood Partnerships Ltd

Baylis Estates Limited

Woodsome Estates Limited

Braintree Properties Limited

Littlecombe Park Limited

Ladybellegate Estates Limited

TrueSpeed Communications Ltd

Tithegrove Limited

Investec Bank PLC

Davies Street Properties

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Thrings LLP's contentious trusts and probate department undertakes a wide range of work, including disputes over the validity of wills, proprietary estoppel  claims and trust disputes. The practice is experienced in advising on estates with a cross-border element. Recently promoted senior associate Emily Prout heads up the team from Swindon.

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Emily Prout is the standout star of the team; she really knows her stuff.

Key clients

Roger Moore

John Gee

Environment Tier 3

The ‘entirely professionalThrings LLP ‘goes the extra mile' and has experience advising on non-contentious and contentious environmental matters, primarily for businesses and landowners. The firm has a particular focus on the energy, waste and agricultural sectors, as well as advising on matters that arise in property transactions and development schemes. Alex Madden leads the team and specialises in contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental work.

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‘The team at Thrings are adept at dealing with a wide range of planning and environmental matters’

‘Members of the team have a deep knowledge of the law which is combined with a practical, real world approach’

‘They often deal with unusual and complex matters and they are used to solving problems no matter how difficult’

‘Fred Quartermain has excellent legal knowledge, superb client skills and a dedication to getting the right result’

‘Very competent in their area’

‘Alex Madden is a partner who is always alert to do the best for his clients and will always try to think out of the box’

‘Rosalyn Trotman is able to absorb the detail but also does not lose sight of the wider picture’

Key clients

PB Gelatins UK  Limited

Alford Technologies Limited

Crown Waste Management Ltd

WZ Packaging

Hills Waste Solutions Limited

Laverstoke Park Farm Limited

Newland Homes Limited

Wight Farm Energy

Denhay Farms Limited

EU Plants Limited

Family Tier 3

Thrings LLP delivers specialist family law advice to clients in the agriculture and landed estates sector, benefiting from the wider firm's expertise in this area. The family team is also often sought out for its expertise in advising business owners, entrepreneurs, police officers and armed forces personnel. Fiona Kellow and Matthew Kellow jointly head up the practice from Swindon; both combine expertise in children law and high-value matrimonial finance cases.

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Their knowledge and expertise was second to none; they were upfront and forthcoming with every aspect of what I would expect and would have to deal with, and also to the point with costs I would have to incur during this legal process.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Thrings LLP specialises in advising on financially distressed and insolvent businesses, particularly mid-sized owner-managed businesses. The firm has notable strength in the agriculture, retail, financial services and technology sectors. Mark Cullingford is known for corporate strategic advice, negotiation over corporate restructuring and litigation. He co-leads the practice with Melissa George, whose clients include investors, lenders, private banks, entrepreneurs, directors, landlords and creditors.

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‘Sound, practical advice’

‘Mark Cullingford gets into the detail and identifies what is important’

‘Melissa was absolutely fantastic in pulling out all the stops with an acquisition we had due to tight timelines’

‘Melissa George takes it upon herself to make sure the transaction gets done with speed and safety. She is extremely methodical and meticulous in her work whilst also maintaining a very friendly and personable manner’

Key clients

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Intellectual property Tier 3

The team at Thrings LLP focuses on advising SMEs on the  full spectrum of IP issues, including applications and registrations, commercialisation and enforcement. The group is led by Megan Jefferies, whose background in commercial litigation is well-suited to contentious IP work.

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Key clients

Pima Ventures UK, trading as Bolt

Lovehoney Group


Taxi Studio

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Proctor + Stevenson


Anthony Best Dynamics

Awareness Technologies.

Miller Harris

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Thrings LLP has developed a reputation for acting as 'an extension of the in-house team' for mid-seized technology companies, handling contracts, negotiations and disputes. The group, led by Kate Westbrook is also instructed on the user-side, advising on IT procurement and technology development projects. Associate Will Foulkes, who joined from Foot Anstey in 2019, has developed a solid blockchain practice.

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The team were able to offer practical and pragmatic advice. This enabled us to agree a stronger contract with a key supplier of IT services.’

Very much an extension of the in-house team; trusted to deal direct with the business in a manner/tone consistent with the in-house team.’

Depth of business, commercial and industry sector knowledge is good.’

Kate Westbrook knows our business and priorities backwards – all of her advice is contextualised and I trust her to represent the in-house team in the business.’

Key clients

Optimal Industrial Technologies




TrueSpeed Communications



Metex Online

Bonsai Tiger



Excalibur Communications

Martin Lock Associates


People Risk Solutions


Anthony Best Dynamics


Folli Follie and Links of London

Awareness Technologies

Malcolm Hollis

National Deposit Friendly Society (National Friendly)


Proctor & Stevenson

Targett Business Technology

European Technology Risks

Minima Global


Bolt – Pima Ventures UK

Media and entertainment Tier 3

The group at Thrings LLP is led by consultant Graeme Fearon, who mainly focuses on IP and data protection issues for clients in the creative and media sectors. The group also advises on broadcast and publishing agreements.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Thrings LLP has expertise in advising high-net-worth business owners and entrepreneurs, especially in relation to their family investment companies. The private client team, headed by Michael Westbrook, also shares the wider firm's strength in assisting clients in the agriculture and landed estates sector. Key specialisms include strategic land advice and diversification into non-agricultural enterprises.

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Thrings offers enormous knowledge and experience in relation to trusts and probate. It is also strong in relation to agricultural matters.

Property litigation Tier 3

Thrings LLP acts on a range of contentious issues, including corporate occupier and commercial landlord and tenant disputes, with a focus on office premises. The firm also advises on long leasehold enfranchisement, property management and rent renewal matters. Warren Reid leads the team and has expertise in property portfolio management, commercial landlord and tenant disputes, and common law and statutory property claims.

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‘Where disputes occur, Michael Tatters strikes the right balance between litigation and common sense commerciality’

Key clients

MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited

BAM Nuttall Limited

Arkells Brewery Limited

Airsprung Group PLC

St John’s Foundation

Malcolm Hollis LLP

Countrywide Estate Agents (formerly Hamptons International)

The Willats Trust

Chippenham Borough Land Charity

Learn Direct

Brandon Trust

Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Corporate and commercial: Bristol Tier 4

The offering at Thrings LLP is led from Swindon by John Davies, who also coordinates the team in Bristol. The team specialises in lower- to mid-market M&A, exit planning, equity investments and joint ventures, as well as corporate restructurings and reorganisations and corporate governance issues. Elaine Meyrick is a key name in the group, and focuses on corporate transactions. Brett Lambe left the firm for Stephenson Law in 2019.

Planning Tier 4

The ‘experienced and professionalThrings LLP specialises in rural and urban planning, with a particular focus on agriculture and development. The firm also provides experience in planning litigation. Head of planning and environmental Alex Madden advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters, including residential development, retail, waste planning and renewables. He works alongside Rosalyn Trotman, who is head of the firm's development of land team.

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‘They know what to do without being told, which is not the case with many firms’

‘Alex Madden is always alert to do the best for his clients and will try to think out of the box. He always manages to be up-to-date and where possible ahead of the curve’

‘Ros Trotman is able to absorb the detail but also does not lose sight of the wider picture’

Key clients

Santander PlC

D S Smith PlC

Curo Enterprises Limited

Newland Homes Limited

Cotswold Homes Limited

Burrington Estates Limited

Allied Irish Bank (GB)

National Westminster Bank PLC

Baylis Estates Limited

Halsall Construction Limited

The firm: Thrings continues to work towards providing exceptional legal service and collaborative long-term business relationships which enable its clients to succeed and grow.

Over the past ten years, Thrings has enjoyed significant organic growth, and is today a Top 100 law firm with offices in London, Bristol, Bath, Romsey and Swindon. In its positioning for growth in a changing legal market, Thrings provides a full range of legal services and strategic advice to a rapidly expanding and increasingly broad client base.

Types of work undertaken: The firm is known for its reputation in certain sectors. Its highly experienced and industry-renowned agriculture team has been providing specialist advice to those involved in farming and rural affairs for more than a century. Thrings – which has the largest specialist agricultural team of any law firm in the UK – has strong and long-term connections with many parts of the agricultural sector, and is on the NFU’s legal panel for seven counties.

Thrings’ reputation as a leading commercial law firm has been achieved, in part, as a result of providing legal and strategic advice to SMEs, corporates and multinationals, including World Fuel Services Europe Limited, Coty, Santander, HSBC, Lovehoney, MAN Truck & Bus Company and TrueSpeed.

Alongside the corporate and commercial success of the firm is that of the real estate team, which has advised on substantial regeneration projects, high-value corporate real estate transactions and major redevelopment schemes. The team has acted for established plc landlords on their portfolio management and institutional lenders on their secured lending requirements. Clients include Airsprung Group PLC, Corneliani SPA, Queen Anne’s Gate Limited (£139m luxury residential development at Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1), Bremont Watch Company, Links of London, DS Smith, St John’s Foundation and Kersfield Developments Ltd, as well a number of leading private banks.

Thrings has also invested significantly in its international practice area – particularly in the Asia-Pacific region – advising on inbound investment and secured lending work for major banks. The firm currently acts for clients such as Rapid Solutions, Affluent Holdings, Athenaeum Holdings Asia Ltd and OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited.

In line with Thrings’ strategy of guiding clients safely through complicated decisions that preserve their business interests, the firm has built up strong private client and succession and tax teams with a commercial background, meaning the complex needs of business clients as well as individuals continue to be well provided for. Clients clearly value this fully integrated, cross-discipline approach, rather than the more traditional separation of commercial and private client affairs.

Thrings remains a progressive and ambitious law firm, and in 2018 restated its commitment to the London legal market by signing a 10-year lease on new commercial premises in a prime City location. The firm also recently expanded its UK footprint by opening an office in Hampshire, where a 25-strong team of legal and business services specialists provides a complete service package to clients requiring legal support in the closely related practice areas of agriculture, agribusiness, landed estates and private client.

For more information visit

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Simon Holdsworth
Senior partner Jonathan Payne
Agriculture Duncan Sigournay
Commercial Kate Westbrook
Construction Natalia Sokolov
Corporate John Davies
Dispute resolution David Patterson
Employment Kerrie Hunt
Environment Alex Madden
Private Client Fiona Kellow
Commercial litigation Alastair Govier
Technology Kate Westbrook
Insolvency Mark Cullingford
Planning Alex Madden
Private wealth Rachel Brooks
Real estate litigation Warren Reid
Real estate Ben Jones
Succession and tax Mike Westbrook
Banking and finance Mike Tomlin
Family Matthew Kellow
Intellectual Property Megan Jefferies
Photo Name Position Profile
 Mark Charter  photo Mark Charter Partner.
 Karen Perugini  photo Karen Perugini Senior Associate.
 Josephine Taylor  photo Josephine Taylor Solicitor.
Number of UK partners : 58
Number of other UK fee-earners : 117
National Farmers Union
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
Agricultural Law Association
Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitors
Country Landowners Association
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)

The Lex 100 Verdict

Thrings is 'large enough to attract a good quality of work and clients, but not so large that trainees are prevented from becoming heavily involved with client work'. Trainees move around the firm's London, Bath, Bristol and Swindon offices during their training contract and although 'this can be a bit of a pain', on the plus side 'you get to experience new places and people and before you know it you are settled'. Thrings has a 'great reputation for client care', as well as for 'supporting its staff'. Moreover, 'there is a very sociable and non-hierarchical feel' and a good work/life balance is positively encouraged. A colossal seven Lex 100 Winner awards have been bestowed upon the firm for job satisfaction, partner approachability and vacation scheme, among others. Thanks to Thrings' size, trainees can expect 'good exposure to matters' and be entrusted with 'plenty of file management and client contact responsibilities'. This also means that 'you can get fully to grips with the matters you are working on; you won't spend huge chunks of your time reviewing endless disclosure in litigation, rather you'll be drafting, advising clients and attending hearings'. Nevertheless, there was some concern over recent trainee retention levels. Thankfully, this is not always the case and the firm is 'visibly trying to improve in this respect'. The IT infrastructure 'could be more advanced' too. Recruits savoured 'running a case from start to finish and reaching a great outcome for the client', 'attending the Court of Appeal' and 'organising the Christmas party'. 'Quiet days when the workload is low' and 'getting to grips with a new area of law' are more frustrating. If a firm with an 'overall family feel' which 'treats its trainees as an asset' sounds up your street, consider Thrings.